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also Gu·lag  (go͞o′läg)
a. A network of forced labor camps in the former Soviet Union.
b. A labor camp in this network.
a. A network of prisons used especially for political dissidents.
b. A prison in such a network.

[Russian Gulag, from G(lavnoe) u(pravlenie ispravitel'no-trudovykh) lag(ereĭ), Chief Administration (of Correctional Labor) Camps.]


1. (Historical Terms) (formerly) the central administrative department of the Soviet security service, established in 1930, responsible for maintaining prisons and forced labour camps
2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (not capital) any system used to silence dissents
[C20: from Russian G(lavnoye) U(pravleniye Ispravitelno-Trudovykh) Lag(erei) Main Administration for Corrective Labour Camps]


(ˈgu lɑg)

n. (sometimes cap.)
1. the system of forced-labor camps in the Soviet Union.
2. a Soviet forced-labor camp.
3. any prison or detention camp, esp. for political prisoners.
[1970–75; < Russian Gulág, acronym from Glávnoe upravlénie ispravítel'no-trudovýkh lageréĭ Main Directorate of Corrective Labor Camps]


1. A Russian word, originally an acronym, meaning a forcedlabor camp.
2. The Russian administration of forced labor camps (acronym for State, or Main, Administration of Corrective Labor Camps) from the 1930s. Used for detention of political opponents, especially intellectuals.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.gulag - a Russian prison camp for political prisoners
internment camp, POW camp, prison camp, prisoner of war camp - a camp for prisoners of war
References in periodicals archive ?
The Soviet Union invaded Poland after the outbreak of WWII and like thousands of other Poles, Mr Pukacz and his family were deported to labour camps - or Gulags - in the Arkhangelsk region of Northern Russia.
In the context of Lithuanian experience, my article offers a test case for contextual Christology from an Eastern European perspective by critically reflecting on the theological implications of the Communist era, of which the system of the Soviet Gulags symbolically stands out as an unmistakable and grim token.
Most were sent to gulags under North Korea's "guilt by association system".
In it, the United States' Operation Keelhaul was described as repatriating hundreds of thousands of mostly Red Army prisoners of war and refugees, who were sent to the Soviet gulags.
Thanks to scholars such as Anne Applebaum much new light has been thrown onto the horrors of Soviet Russia's notorious gulags or concentration camps into which millions of Soviet citizens were thrown.
Josyf Slipyj, Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, had spent the last 18 years of his life imprisoned in various Soviet Siberian gulags.
They decided to forge ahead with Weir fictionalising the story and letting it stand as a tribute to the many millions who spent hellish years in the Gulags and the millions who perished, often being locked up for the most spurious of reasons.
The plot of this novel emanates from the supposition that the speech gave rise to a reaction to the "crimes" committed during the Stalin years, the arrests, denunciations and exile of innocent persons to the Gulags.
Under Soviet dictators, Russians going to Siberia were often headed for the gulags, or forced-labor camps.
He spent the next eight years as one of the countless men enduring the gulags.
What is not so well know is that from 1932 through 1953 a fleet of Russian cargo ships were pressed into the service of carrying approximately one million forced laborers to the Soviet Gulag in Kolyma, one of the most infamous of the Soviet gulags and located along the Arctic Circle in far northeastern Siberia.
A companion to the art exhibition, GULAG: Soviet Forced Labor Camps and the Struggle for Freedom, this volume documents the work of seven contemporary artists representing two generations of non- conformists born during the Stalin and Kruschev eras grappling the history and mythology of the gulags.